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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

But on the general subject of recommending monitoring in report writing is it to be avoided? Isn't there a healthy amount of legal liability for us telling a client to monitor something besides just kinda leaving the client hanging?

Chris, Oregon

Such phrases are oft found in my reports.

"The xyz is cracked. I'm not worried about it; the crack has been time-tested and shows no signs of on-going movement. You should know, though, that if it worsens, it will have to be fixed and this will cost quite a bit of money. Will it worsen? I don't know; only time will tell."

If I tell them to monitor, what, do they pull up a chair?

I think most of us know the difference between normal cracks/stuff and bad, evil cracks/stuff. I don't sweat normal cracks/stuff.

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Mine is:

I saw cracks in the brick veneer at the ______ I don't know if the cracks happened yesterday or 20 years ago. There is no easy way to tell how old the cracks are. Fix the crack(s) and watch to see if they crack again. If it cracks again, I recommend that you get a qualified brick mason (who utilizes the services of a licensed engineer to design repairs) to determine needed repairs & best repair methods, estimate costs, and to perform any repairs deemed necessary.

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

Can you think of a case where monitoring would be an appropriate recommendation?

My understanding is that its a sin to suggest monitoring.

Chris, Oregon

I'm an anti-monitoring guy, mostly because I've seen the term misused and abused in HI reports, when the writer was trying to soft-sell a real problem. As I'm sure everybody here knows, there are HIs who'd tell a customer to monitor a retaining wall that's already dropping rocks in the driveway.

In my experience, calling out a defect is usually an up-or-down vote. If something is broke enough to need monitoring, it's broke enough to need fixing. The sooner the better.

I think telling a customer to monitor something is usually lawsuit bait. I wouldn't want to sit in the witness chair and explain to a judge/jury that I saw a problem but decided that fixing it could wait. I really wouldn't want to sit in the witness chair and hear the other side's expert testify that any knucklehead could have seen that the thing needed fixing, not watching.

But sometimes, something like a little diagonal crack over a window might just need monitoring until the next paint job.

Long story short: If the customer would benefit by fixing the thing ASAP, just tell him to fix it. If everything you know says the thing is just like a bazillion other such things you've seen, none of which ever caused a problem, monitoring makes sense.

WJ

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